July 20, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, today pressed Dr. Stacey Dixon, nominee to be Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, on the importance of better collaboration between the public and private sector to strengthen national cybersecurity. During his questioning Senator King highlighted a point that he made in a CNN op-ed with CSC Commission and CEO of Southern Company this week: that the private sector and the federal government must adopt a trustful, information-sharing relationship to protect U.S. critical infrastructure from debilitating cyberattacks from foreign adversaries.
“One of the unusual things about the history that we're in right now is that we have to reimagine conflict. We've all thought of conflict over a thousand years as armies against armies, navies against navies. But now, with the advent of cyberwarfare, the private sector is the front line. They're the target,” said Senator King. “And so I believe one of your missions has to be – and this also goes for the National Cyber Director, for you, for Avril Haines, for others – to form new kinds of relationships with the private sector. We can't have this ‘arm's length’, ‘we don't trust the government’, ‘we're not going to share information,’ and successfully meet the cyber challenge.”
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, Senator King is recognized as one of Congress’s leading experts on cyberdefense and a strong advocate for a forward-thinking cyberstrategy that emphasizes layered cyberdeterrence. Earlier this month, he celebrated the swearing-in of former CSC commissioner, Chris Inglis, as the inaugural National Cyber Director (NCD). The NCD was included in the 25 bipartisan cybersecurity recommendations from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission passed through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, which Senator King voted for. The legislation became law earlier this year after Senator King and the overwhelming majority of his colleagues voted to override former President Trump’s veto.
The CSC was established by statute in the 2019 NDAA, officially launched in April 2019, and will continue to execute its statutory mission through December 2021. The Commissioners convened nearly every Monday that Congress was in session for a year, and its staff conducted more than 400 engagements, drawing upon the expertise of corporate leaders, federal, state and local officials, academics, and cybersecurity experts. The meetings and the ensuing report sought to strengthen America’s posture in cyberspace and identify opportunities to improve our national preparedness to defend ourselves against cyberattacks.
In addition to Dr. Dixon, today’s hearing featured testimony from Matthew Olsen, nominee to be Assistant Attorney General, and Thomas Monheim, nominee to be Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.